More information on the Air BnB front in NYC

Nov 5th, 2014, 05:38 PM
  #1  
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More information on the Air BnB front in NYC

Our co-op has just passed updated house rules with changes on a number of fronts. This is as recommended by the managing agent - and the changes are being made rules of co-ops across the city in an attempt to ensure safety and health of tenants.

The one potentially affecting tourists is the strengthening of penalties for any tenant subletting short term - even if they are in the apartment and only renting out one room. Short-term sublets have always been against the rules and in the past we did end up forcing sale of one apartment the owner of which was subletting illegally - but for periods of 3 or 4 months at a time (but without advance approval of the board and investigation of the sub-tenants financial and criminal background).

Apparently now one new owner has been suspected of allowing strangers to stay in their second bedroom for payment through Air BnB. Our new rules now clearly state this is against house rules and will not be tolerated. Now anyone found renting subletting a room will be fined $1000 for the first incident, and a second incident will be grounds for terminating the lease and forced sale of the apartment. Also, the superintendent and porter have now been mandated to question any strangers they see in the building without the presence of a tenant - and the other tenants will be watching to identify any trespassers.

Hopefully this new rule will stop the activities of the new owner - and we won't be forced to terminate their lease.

But this will only make things more difficult for tourists trying to sublet apartments in NYC.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 5th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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I am frankly amazed that it is legal to prevent a unit owner from renting out a bedroom, but then again, nothing about co-ops in NYC should surprise me, as I have a friend who had an absolutely hair-raising experience buying into one. I would not declare victory, nyt, until this stands up in court, and you can be sure someone will challenge it. Will it be the end of Air BnB, or the end of the despotic rule of co-ops? Time will tell.
NewbE is offline  
Nov 5th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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The OP's preoccupation with this topic is peculiar.
obxgirl is online now  
Nov 5th, 2014, 08:49 PM
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"But this will only make things more difficult for tourists trying to sublet apartments in NYC."

Forcing a sale because the owner of a unit wanted to sublet or get a roommate?

I've managed a lot of condos over the years, and even though nobody ever goes to the lengths of discrimination that appears to be normal in NYC co-ops, we've never had a problem with criminal roommates terrorizing a building.

I agree Newbe, this could backfire. The days of people submitting to such intrusion into their personal affairs may be numbered.
lcuy is offline  
Nov 5th, 2014, 08:51 PM
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And for the record, I am not in favor of illegal vacation rentals, but having a roommate, short or long term is not at all the same as a vacation rental.
lcuy is offline  
Nov 6th, 2014, 04:50 AM
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Co-ops are private corporations which are free to make their own rules - and there is a long history of some very restrictive rules in many of them. There is no despotic imposition of rules - all rules are voted on by the residents. Ours is a family co-op and we have tried very hard to be careful not to be any more restrictive than necessary. We voted to continue to allow all pets that are safe and kept under control (versus many co-ops with a one pet 15 lb limit) and to extend the hours during which playing musical instruments can be played (we have 2 long term tenants who are musicians.)

Board members are officers of the corporation, with elections each year - and if tenants don;t like the rules they are free to elect a different board of directors an vote on a different set of rules. The point is that we just voted on these rules and the owners were nearly unanimous on this one - with the single exception of the owner subletting illegally. When this owner bought the co-op the specific rules and regulations regarding sublets were made very clear to them - I know I'm the chair of the interview committee. And the lease they signed - a binding legal document - has this info clearly spelled out. At that point they had the choice to not to go forward with the purchase if they desired. Apparently they thought they were free to ignore house rules.

Courts have no right to interfere in internal corporation matters unless the rules or practices are breaking city or state laws (such as banning buyers on the basis of race or religion). The whole purpose of co-ops is that one can live in a community which agrees on basic rules of living in the same building. Someone who doesn't like rules is better off buying a house - so they can do whatever they want. Air BnB - as a profit-making corporate entity - has no right to any consideration form the co-op or the board.

Sorry - a roommate is not the same thing as short-term sublets to strangers. Obviously some people buy an apartment as a single and then either marry or meet a life partner - and naturally these people are allowed to live in the building. If one wants a permanent roommate that can also be arranged - although the person will need to go through the standard financial and criminal investigation process that every buyer/tenant does. And having legitimate relatives visit is also allowed (since the owner/tenant is responsible for their behavior in the building and presumably knows they are not criminals). It;s the short-term sublet of rooms to strangers for profit which is not allowed - since the board has no opportunity - obviously - to do criminal and financial background checks on them.

Also each apartment is issued fobs for the front entrance equal to the number of legal tenants in the apartment. If they need more fobs (have lost theirs or ?) they need to request in advance, obtain approval and pay a $50 fee. That's one of the ways these miscreant tenants were found - in less than a year they requested 7 more door fobs - which are now who knows where. (We will be having the door locks reset and new fobs issued - at the expense of this tenant - in the next week. And will have much more stringent control of additional entry fobs in the future.)

And legally, co-ops and condos are very different animals. Some condos do allow subletting - although less common in NYC than in other places I believe. the decision to live in a co-op is a serious one - and people who do not like the house rules should seek another building (although our rules are very loose compared to many co-ops) or go to a condo with few rules. It's obviously ridiculous to buy into a building knowing the rules and fully intending to break them - and think they won;t be found out and stopped.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 6th, 2014, 04:53 AM
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When a person cannot let someone stay in their guest bedroom when they are present, even for a little bit of money to help pay expenses and the BOARD makes it their business whether than can be allowed or not, what's next? "No, your Aunt Hilda is not allowed to stay with you over Thanksgiving unless she submits to a board interview and a blood test"? "We don't care if it is your adult son in the midst of a divorce, we won't let him stay with you"?

I too have to laugh at the idea that all "visitors" must be riff-raff who will destroy the values of a middle priced co-op or condo.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 04:58 AM
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I wouldn't touch a co-op in NYC, especially this one, with a barge poll.

Is that sweet young ice skating young girl still a resident?
DebitNM is offline  
Nov 6th, 2014, 05:02 AM
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I am curious as to the reason that OP posts so often about this topic.....are you venting because of your personal situation at your coop?

Just to be clear, I have lived more than 10 years in a very well run Manhattan coop and have not suffered any ill results from living here.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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It is so good to know that your obsession with keeping out the riff raff is going so well.
jubilada is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 08:02 AM
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I don't really see it as keeping the riff raff out, so much, as not wanting the building to turn into a hotel with a bunch of short term guests.

If the new owner was aware of the rules before buying, I wouldn't think he has much room to complain.
wtm003 is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 08:30 AM
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I don't really see it as keeping the riff raff out, so much, as not wanting the building to turn into a hotel with a bunch of short term guests.

So the solution is to "mandate" the staff to interrogate "strangers" in the building who aren't accompanied by a fully vetted tenant. And then do what? Unceremoniously boot them out? Call their mommies? Perhaps the board could vote to have all "strangers" wear special yellow patches on their clothing. That would at least spare the other tenants' precious feelings having to spy on their own neighbors.

The OP is unhinged on this topic. AirBnB is the boogeyman.
obxgirl is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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The building is a private residence. People who are not legitimate guests of a resident are NOT allowed inside - any more than a stranger can decide that they want to just go and sit in your living room. Or hold a BBQ in your backyard.

The tenants have paid a large amount of money to live in a building with rules that they have approved - and which are made known to any potential resident in advance of their application to buy an shares in the corporation. (And which, are in general much less restrictive than that in many other co-ops.)

Yes, we don;t want random strangers wandering around our home. I don't see anything odd in that - or in doing whatever we can to prevent it. I think above I made it clear that this applies only to strangers who are paying to use the building as a hotel - against rules everyone has agreed to. Exaggerating and taking it out of context is just silly.

And my "obsession" about this may have something to do with the Air BnB ad at the top of this page - at least on my page - showing a NYC family saying they support Air BnB and want the right to rent out their apartment. If the company would back down - and allow only listings that meet local laws - rather than trying to take more and more apartments off the market against local laws - then the rest of us could forget about it.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 6th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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The building is a private residence. People who are not legitimate guests of a resident are NOT allowed inside - any more than a stranger can decide that they want to just go and sit in your living room. Or hold a BBQ in your backyard.

Really? Is that how private property works? Here in the Outlands we're good with any turnip squattin' wherever their dumb a$$ lands. Your precious preciousness is insufferable.
obxgirl is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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"The building is a private residence. People who are not legitimate guests of a resident are NOT allowed inside - any more than a stranger can decide that they want to just go and sit in your living room."

OK, already your analogy breaks down. First of all the "building" is NOT a private residence. It's a whole bunch of private residences. And while in a private home a person can't come in uninvited and sit in MY living room, I don't pretend to have the right to decide that same visitor can't go and sit in my neighbor's living room.

It's one thing to want to protect your own private residence, and if there is really just cause to assume damage is being done by visitors to someone else's private residence then there is a reason to react accordingly. I think the thing some of us thinks is "overkill" is that insistence in "meddling" with who visits or spends time with neighbors.

I honestly don't mind if my next door neighbor lets someone stay with him in his home. To me, it's none of my business unless it somehow harms me. Of course if YOU feel you have the right to decide who visits YOUR neighbor, that's your business. So long as I AM NOT the neighbor you're approving or disapproving the visitors for.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Nov 6th, 2014, 10:02 AM
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Me, neither!

Those of you hammering at the OP must not realize that co-ops in NYC are all at least a little unhinged--ekscrunchy, no offense meant! Co-ops are a very different animal than condos, with much, much more intrusive rules. When they work, they protect the owners' living arrangements. When they don't, they are a nest of vipers attacking each other over transgressions real and imagined, and each attempting to control actions that would be a private matter under any other living arrangement.

I do not blame the OP for not wanting random strangers in the building. I blame the existence of co-ops for fostering the idea that the co-op board can and should control that kind of thing.
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Nov 6th, 2014, 10:10 AM
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Neo, I agree with you, but my understanding of a co-op (vs a condo) is that the entire building IS considered one big private residence shared by it's co-owners. (They have co-ops in DC, too, btw, don't know where else.)

Briefly, a condo's association owns the common ground, and individual owners own their units from the studs in; in a co-op, each and every owner owns a share of the land it sits on and everything else that is held "in common", plus their own unit, of course. This is my shallow understanding of it, in any case, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!
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Nov 6th, 2014, 11:50 AM
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Actually, NewbE, I think you explained it very well. And perhaps I was wrong in the way I stated it, technically. But still -- in a co-op, people still do have their "own" personal unit and I would assume most of them value their privacy and are glad they are allowed to furnish and decorate with their own taste. So the idea that others feel the need to tell them whom they can or cannot entertain or allow to stay overnight (again, even if they are giving them some money to pay for expenses) is pretty distasteful to many, I would think -- almost as much as saying "no you can't paint the walls in your bedroom blue, we don't like that color".
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Nov 6th, 2014, 12:37 PM
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Neo---

Those to whom it's distasteful shouldn't buy into a co-op. Co-op living wouldn't be my preference either, but those who like that sort of thing should be able to make the rules.
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Nov 6th, 2014, 02:51 PM
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Well to an extent that is true, but do you honestly believe all people who buy into a co-op realize how few "rights" they have and that everyone will have their noses in their every day business?
NeoPatrick is online now  

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